Repair orders unenforced on 20,000 city buildings

Homeowner Stephen Welsh has filled more than 100 buckets of water from his leaky roof in the past year despite Edinburgh City Council claiming to have fixed the roof

Homeowner Stephen Welsh has filled more than 100 buckets of water from his leaky roof in the past year despite Edinburgh City Council claiming to have fixed the roof

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MORE than 20,000 properties have been identified as requiring statutory repairs that have not yet been carried out, prompting concerns that buildings could be falling into grave disrepair.

A council report has revealed bosses are investigating what risks the lack of repairs pose for the thousands of properties across the city.

It is understood that some of the notices were not acted upon due to an unmanageable workload, although sources suggested some may not have needed to be issued in the first place.

Council officials have speculated that some of the repairs could have been carried out independently of the council, although a lack of a proactive approach within tenements is often what prompted the issue of statutory notices in the first place.

Investigators are now considering how many of these will need to be enforced, and how many will be lifted.

The unenforced notices span several years, meaning some buildings could now be in urgent need of repair.

The same report, by the council’s policy and strategy committee, highlighted that £81 million had been paid out to building contractors since 2006, and that £27m of this had not yet been recovered.

The report said: “[This is] a far higher level than could be attributed to normal work in progress.”

Due to 883 complaints covering 721 projects across the city, 1634 invoices worth nearly £6m have been suspended while investigations continue. So far just 45 complaints have been finalised.

The report also admits that the council’s use of external consultants, which covered a large volume of the repair works, meant work was not always carried out to a satisfactory level.

Councillor Alastair Rankin, finance and resources convener, said: “While there have been clear and unacceptable failings with this service, it is encouraging to see that the new management are making progress. Since becoming convener earlier this year, and learning about the problems in detail, I have a better understanding of how difficult and frustrating this must have been for the property owners affected.”

Following the property repairs scandal, four people have been sacked from the property conservation department. Two people have resigned and two employees remain under investigation. In the property care department 15 people have been charged with offences including money laundering, fraud and corruption.

‘Council just made it worse’

A FUMING homeowner has revealed how he has filled up more than 100 buckets of water from his leaky roof in just one year, despite council chiefs saying they had “fixed it”.

Design engineer Stephen Welsh contacted the council as long ago as 2007 to alert it to a leaky roof in his top-floor Leith Walk flat.

But Mr Welsh, 43, collected two buckets half-full with rain in just three days after heavy rain over the weekend.

He said: “[The council]said the repairs fell under the statutory repairs programme. So I waited four years for them to get their act together and fix the roof, but all they have done is made it worse – it leaks more than ever now.”